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By Morgan Day, Ashley Wright

The season of bikinis, swim trunks, and sand every-fucking-where is almost upon us, which means you’re probably attempting to quell your body-related panic with booze, carbs, and Game of Thrones re-runs. We’re here to offer you a healthier, less hang-over inducing alternative: Exercise! If the adrenaline-filled activities in our Get Fit Doing Weird Shit Guide are too intense for you, slip into your favorite yoga pants (or sweatpants, or speedo – no judgment), grab your mat, and book a session at one of the District’s many (many) yoga studios.

BYTYoga1Going to your first yoga class can be intimidating. All the unfamiliar terminology and the implied expectation that you should be able to get your feet behind your head like that 16-year-old girl on the next mat doesn’t help. To lessen some of your pre-yoga class anxiety, check out these tips for your first yoga class.

Do

  • Wear tight clothing. It doesn’t have to be so tight that you lose circulation, but it should be tight enough where you’re not going to get tangled in it. You’ll have enough to worry about when you’re upside down in a room full of strangers. Baggy t-shirts tend to fall when you’re upside down.
  • But make it comfortable. Just because it’s tight doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable, and you don’t want to have to be worried about adjusting what you’re wearing when your hands are occupied with holding your entire body weight.
  • Wear a headband or sweatband. Again, your hands will be occupied doing other things; wiping sweat out of your eyes should not be a priority.

Don’t

  • Wear sheer yoga pants, or yoga pants that become sheer when stretched. (That is, unless you want everyone in the room to know about that Brazilian appointment you skipped last week.)
  • Wear a shirt during bikram yoga if it can be avoided. You’re going to sweat. A lot.
  • Wear socks. You will slide all over the place, which could lead to both embarrassment and injury. No one wants either of those things.

Before You Begin

  • Finding the right mat is crucial. If you prefer to not use a towel on your mat, then make sure you find one that you won’t slip on. The Lulu Lemon mat is good for sporadic yoga practicers as they aren’t slippery. However if you plan on practicing a lot, the Lulu Lemon mats start to smell after 3 months (if you’re practicing about four times a week). You’re going to be forced to think about thickness and texture when it comes to picking a mat, prepare yourself.
  • Yogi Toes towels are worth the investment. This yoga-specific towel with tiny, sticky feet on the bottom are phenomenal.  They run between $60-$70, but make a world of a difference when practicing (and manageable—machine washable). If you see people spraying water on their towel/mat before class (to make it stick) they probably have this.
  • Carrying your mat or throwing it in a beach bag works, but eventually you’re going to want a yoga mat bag.  Lulu Lemon sells a reasonably priced yoga bag that’s durable.
  • TBH if you’re going to only do yoga randomly, then buy your gear from Target. Prices are great and you don’t have to stress about wearing it out. They carry mats, clothing, and basically anything mankind could ever want so have at it.

Got your clothes and your mat? Now keep these yoga etiquette rules in mind for when you actually get to the studio.

Mind Your Manners

  • When signing up for a class, ask what the busiest times are. If everyone is coming after work for the 5 pm class, then you’re going to want to show up fifteen minutes early or you might not get a spot! If your studio offers an online sign up, try to sign up the day before.
  • DO NOT bring your cellphone into the studio. One time I was crouching into crow pose and someone’s “Ignition Remix” ringtone started blasting. Hilarious, but totally messed with the flow of the class. I know it’s hard to fit yoga into your schedule, let alone break away from the world for an hour, but do everyone a favor and leave your phone in the lockers.
  • If you’re sweaty/have particularly pungent B.O use a towel over your mat. Mats can get real nasty after a few sessions and no one wants to smell that while getting their zen on. On the other hand, make sure not to wear heavy perfume (most teachers warn you beforehand) as some of your mat neighbors could be scent-sensitive. It’s also a good idea to use a towel over a mat if it’s not your own mat.
  • Most yoga studios are a no chit-chat zone. If you go with a friend, try to keep the talking to a minimum. Stretch it out before the class starts – you’ll be happy you did!
  • There is no shame in child’s pose. Yoga teachers are serious when they say revert to child’s pose if a pose is too advanced for you. Most classes include newbies and people who have been practicing for years; don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.
  • Stay positive. This isn’t a competition, and there’s no need to shoot dirty looks at the Olympic skater in the front row doing a perfect dancer pose (this actually happened—guilty). Do your thing and be happy you made it to the mat in the first place. Remember, you don’t actually want to have the life of an Olympic skater, it’s not very fun.
  • Finally, thank your teacher. Thumbs to your third eye and a quick bow is the usual end exchange of a class.
As the fear of either having a food baby in class or passing out from lack of nutrition halfway through is legitimate, here’s some advice on combining food and yoga.

Nutrition Matters

  • Do not eat a heavy meal beforehand. No burritos, no lasagna, nada. This is for your comfort, and for those around you too. Lots of stretching after Mexican food is never promising.
  • Make sure you do eat. It’s typically best to not eat right beforehand, but maybe a meal an hour before the class starts. In the morning, oatmeal is great. For lunch or dinner, try a salad, knowing that you’re going to eat afterwards (you should!). We realize that telling you to eat a salad isn’t the most original advice, but you’re in a city with a Sweetgreen and Chop’t every other block so eat a salad!
  • During the class always make sure you’re drinking water. If it’s a strenuous class and you’re worried about feeling light-headed I usually bring a Vitamin Water or something with a bit of sugar. Sugar isn’t always bad.
  • If you take a hot yoga class, eat fruit and drink water afterwards. Your body lost a lot of water. Fruit gives you water AND contains nutritional value. Once again, not very original, but very important advice.
  • A snack we recommend eating either before or after the class (if you’re in a hurry) is a Lara Bar. They’re gluten-free, vegan, and taste great.

Now that you’re dressed, equipped, fed, and watered, it’s time to choose a studio. We compiled the following yoga studio guide by price because we know that, like us, you’re probably perennially short on cash; there’s so much drinking, eating, and dancing to do in this city that no one could possibly blame you for trying to take advantage of it all. First tip: You may want to dig out your student ID from college or grad school before you hit the mat as student rates tend to be way cheaper than the prices offered to the general public.

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The list of yoga studios included here are either studios we’ve tried and liked or studios would like to try, not a comprehensive list of every single yoga studio in the District.

For The Newbies

Buddha B Yoga

1115 U Street NW Suite #202

  • $30 for 3 yoga classes

Capitol Hill Yoga

641 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

  • $25 for 7 days of classes

Down Dog Yoga

1046 Potomac Street NW

  • $50 for a month of classes

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Embrace with Faith Hunter

1650 Columbia Road NW

  • $20 for 1 week of unlimited classes; $49 for 1 month of unlimited classes

Georgetown Yoga

2805 M Street NW

  • $36 for a 3-class pass; $9 for your first class; $58 for your first month

Kali Yoga

3423 14th Street NW

  • $30 for 2 weeks of unlimited classes

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Lighthouse Yoga Center

4804 Georgia Avenue NW

  • $50 for 6 classes/$20 for 2 classes

Past Tense

3253 Mt. Pleasant Street NW

  • $20 for a 10-day unlimited trial pass

The Studio DC

Adams Morgan: 2469 18th Street NW

Dupont: 1710 Connecticut Avenue NW

  • 1 month unlimited classes for $50; 1 week unlimited yoga for $20

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Yoga Del Sol

1519 Wisconsin Avenue NW

  • $45 for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga

Yoga District

Dupont: 1635 Connecticut Avenue NW

H St: 526 H St., NE

14th St: 1910 14th Street NW

I St: 1922 I Street NW

Bloomingdale: 1830 1st Street NW

Glover Park: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW

  • $11 for 2 classes at any of their studios in 1 week

Flow Yoga Center

1450 P Street, NW

  • $45 for 1 month unlimited pass

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If you try a few of these studios and decide that your new goal for the summer is to impress your friends/your mom/that attractive individual down the beach with your ability to tickle your ears with your toes, you’ll probably want to choose a place at which to practice regularly. Below is a list of monthly fees and drop-in rates for yoga studios around the city, from the cheapest to the most expensive. Find the studio that fits your budget:

Cheap

Yoga District (Various neighborhoods)

Yelp Rating: 4.25 

  • Relevant Review: All of the studios are clean, bright, and incredibly welcoming. They offer a truly diverse set of classes to fit every level of practitioner. All the instructors provide gentle corrections to form to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. (This was especially important to me as one of the reasons I do yoga is to help control the discomfort of a pinched nerve in my back.) I’ve liked every instructor I’ve encountered. – Ashley W.

Dupont: 1635 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

H St: 526 H St., NE, Washington, DC 20002

14th St: 1910 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

I St: 1922 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

Bloomingdale: 1830 1st Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Glover Park: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

Unlimited classes: $85/month

Drop-ins: $11

 

Lighthouse Yoga Center (Petworth)

Yelp Rating: 5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “Some of my… favorite instructors are Annie Carlin, who teaches very fun mixed-level hatha classes in addition to a famous series on yoga for larger bodies, and Naomi Gottlieb-Miller, who has a very energetic and challenging style. As previously stated in other reviews, the class size is small, so students receive personal attention.” – Deborah K.

4804 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington DC 20011

Unlimited classes: $100/month

Drop-ins: $16 for a 75-minute class; $13 for a 60-minute class

Student rates:

Unlimited classes: $80/month

Drop-ins: $13 for a 75-minute class; $11 for a 60-minute class

 

Georgetown Yoga (Georgetown)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I take Joan Wadopian’s Vinyasa class, which is just perfect. All levels are in this class, but I’ve always felt very comfortable being a beginner with super tight hips and hamstrings. Her style is so positive, so encouraging – never corrective or shaming… She is very knowledgeable and her suggestions for each pose on where to open and relax or push are truly insightful and surprisingly effective.” – Erin L.

2805 M Street NW, Washington DC 20007

Unlimited classes: $105/month

Drop-ins: $17

Student rates:

Unlimited classes: $68/month

Drop-ins: $10

 

Kali Yoga (Columbia Heights)

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I know if I want to work up a sweat I can go to Shawn’s Prana Flow class, if I want to be lazy, I’ll go to Gracy’s Restorative class (I know restorative yoga has other benefits, but I go when I want to rest), etc. The teachers are great (I love Gracy, Shawn, Rita, and Amy Dara), and give options for poses based on your experience level.” – Laura O.

3423 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010

Unlimited classes: $120/month

Drop-ins: $16

Student rates:

15% off classes

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Sculpt DC (Metro Center)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “Sculpt is one of those high-end gyms that tries to take care of everything for you – the only thing you need to do is show up. No need to wipe off your bike, grab a towel, roll out and find a space for your yoga mat, toiletries and hair ties provided etc. They even have a lunch delivery service for people trying to fit in a class on their lunch hour!” – Bonnie O.

950 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Unlimited classes for $120/month

Drop-ins: $20

Student rates:

Students receive 15% off

 

Past Tense (Mt. Pleasant)

Yelp Rating: 4.5

  • Relevant Review: “I would definitely recommend Past Tense to Beginning to Intermediate students. Advanced students might find it a bit too easy. However, they always give the more advanced variations of positions. If you are looking for a more difficult workout, I would also suggest asking the instructor to concentrate on core… one legged plank is a killer.”  – Katrina Y.

3253 Mt. Pleasant Street NW, Washington DC 20010

Unlimited classes for $125/month

Drop-ins: $15

Student rates:

Unlimited classes for $79/month

10% off all class passes

 

Capitol Hill Yoga (Capitol Hill)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I have been looking for a studio in the neighborhood that offers warm/heated classes and this studio now offers what they call “yogahour” 60 minutes of heated yoga.  The studio was clean, and the staff was very warm and friendly. The class was challenging yet the instructor provided clear leadership and flow throughout. I needed some guidance with alternative poses and was provided great advice.” – M.S.

641 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington DC 20003

Unlimited classes for $125

Drop-ins: $12

Student rates:

Students receive a 10% discount.

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Moderate:

Buddha B Yoga (U Street)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “Stacey Rusch is by far my favorite instructor. She doesn’t leave a lot of time for Shavasana at the end, but she’s got a great teaching style that’s both challenging and encouraging. Some classes by Valerie will feature the “hot sauce,” which feels a lot of like IcyHot or tiger balm. The restorative yin yoga class by Rexx is challenging (hold a pose for minutes instead of breaths) and worth checking out.” – Pam Z.

1115 U Street NW, Washington DC 20009

Unlimited classes for $135/month

Drop-ins: $16

Student rates:

15% off all class packs

 

The Studio DC (Adams Morgan & Dupont)

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I love that they categorize it by levels, so you can try a Hot Power Yoga Level 1 through 3 depending on how adventurous you’re feeling that day. I’ve tried Katja’s and Courtney’s classes so far, and they will kick your butt. Most classes seem to lean towards a Vinyasa practice, but I’ve heard good things about their Ashtanga classes which I’m excited to try next.” – D. M.

Adams Morgan: 2469 18th Street NW, Washington DC

Dupont: 1710 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC

Unlimited classes for $139/month

Drop-ins: $17

Student rates:

Drop-ins: $14

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Stroga (Adams Morgan)

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “This studio offers A LOT more yoga classes/times than other studios I’ve been to in the area, which is great if you work weird hours like I do. I’ve also noticed most of the vinyasa classes are for all levels, which is nice because if you’re in a level above or below, you don’t have to worry about attending a class that might be too easy/hard for you, because every type of practitioner is welcome and can get a benefit from it.” – Kristin F.

1808 Adams Mill Road NW, Washington DC 20009

Unlimited classes for $139/month

Drop-ins: $18

Student rates:

Unlimited classes for $99/month

 

Embrace with Faith Hunter (Lanier Heights)

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “Faith Hunter who owns and runs this studio is the lead instructor who’s  actually recognized in the yoga world because she’s an outstanding teacher who’s also been featured in what every super-yogi treats as The Bible, “Yoga Journal.” – D. M.

1650 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC 20009

Unlimited classes for $140/month

Drop-ins: $17

Student rates:

Unlimited classes for $89/month

 

Down Dog Yoga (Georgetown)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “This is THE place to go if you want an extremely challenging workout/yoga practice!  You’ll leave totally sweaty and, hopefully, feeling like it was totally worth the money and time. The practice here is regimented, disciplined, long, hot & sweaty, without focus on spirituality (there’s no meditation or dharma talks here, although 3 ohms at start and end) and taught nearly identically across all instructors. This is the place to go if you want the same kick-ass workout every time.” – Blythe B.

1046 Potomac Street NW Washington, DC 20007

Unlimited classes for $145/month

Drop-ins: $18

Student rates:

Drop-ins: $12

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Expensive

Bikram Yoga Tenleytown (Tenleytown)

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “First, [they’re] super welcoming to Bikram newbies–they are supportive in answering any questions, giving tips, and are sure to pay special attention to new faces during class to be sure those of us who are still green around the edges are on track and don’t wind up hurting ourselves.  Plus, the instructors (I can say this about three different folks) are simply great in general–they are calm, focused, and thoughtful, and do a wonderful job encouraging [their] students throughout the 90 minutes of extreme heat and intense postures.” – Maya B.

4908 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

Unlimited classes for $150/month

Drop-ins: $18

Student rates:

Students receive 20% off

 

Flow Yoga Center (Logan Circle)

Yelp Rating: 4 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I’ve been to Vinyasa Flow 1 classes with Leah, Tori, Gopi, and Joan.  Each are different in their styles.  My first class ever at flow was with Leah and it was a great experience.  It was a good pace for newbies; she spent time one on one to make adjustments; she paused the class to demonstrate some techniques. Tori adds more of a spiritual element to her class.  I didn’t think I’d like this as an atheist (and all around curmudgeon).  I thought it’d be too new-age or hokey for me.  It wasn’t (sorry Tori!).  It was actually really nice, calming, and thoughtful.  I have anxiety issues, and Tori emphasized relaxation–particularly at the end of the class. I’ve only taken Gopi’s class a few times but I very much enjoyed the change of pace–the sequences are different and there were moments of more aggressive energy (in a good way).” – Matt W.

1450 P Street, NW Washington, DC 20005

Unlimited classes for $160/month

Drop-ins: $18

Student rates:

Students receive 15% off

 

Yoga Del Sol (Georgetown)

Yelp Rating: 5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I’ve had many had good practices at Del Sol, and like all the teachers (I can speak for Sarah G., Sarah H., and Tori), but Diego, the owner, is truly exceptional. His approach embodies the studio and the classes — minimalist, raw, and warm. His classes are always demanding and eclectic. But his true gift is making a routine practice transcendent. He is a rare talent.” – Kit C.

1519 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

Unlimited classes for 1 month for $165/month

Drop-ins: $20

Student rates:

Unlimited monthly classes: $110/month

Drop-ins: $15

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Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill (Capitol Hill)

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “It is basic, no-frills (except for the amazing lavender cold towel at the end of a class, which is awesome), with lots of different class times throughout the week and many different instructors with different ways of conducting class, so there really is something for everyone.” – Martha B.

410 H Street NE, Washington DC 20002

Unlimited classes for $175/month

Drop-ins: $20

Student rates:

Drop ins: $14

 

Ashtanga Yoga Studio (Palisades)

Yelp Rating: 5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I really like Keith Moore’s manner:  no-nonsense, gentle, witty, but focused and professional. I’m not a big fan of yoga practiced with distracting music in the background, or an instructor intoning over-earnestness.  The AYS is none of that.  Just a wonderfully down-to-earth place to practice yoga.  Bonus points for being easily bike-accessible off the C&O or the Capital Crescent bike trails, and there’s also lots of on-street parking.” – Jeff B.

5117 MacArthur Boulevard NW, Washington, DC 20016

Unlimited classes for $175/month

Drop-ins: $20

Student rates:

Unlimited classes for $135/month

Drop-ins: $15

 

Bikram Yoga Dupont (Dupont)

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Relevant Review: “I have been practicing Bikram yoga for close to 2 years now and have been to various different studios including one in Tel Aviv (I travel alot for work). Signing up was a breeze, electronic lockers, nice showers, the studio was clean (clearly odor and cleanliness is a huge issue that plagues many yoga studios when you and others are sweating profusely for the entire duration of the class).” – Pedro L.

1635 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20009

Unlimited classes for $185/month

Drop-ins: $20

Student rates:

30 day unlimited classes for $110/month

Drop-ins: $15

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If we didn’t include your favorite studio in this guide, tell us about why you love it in the comments!

If you’re still not convinced that doing something that’s obviously good for your body isn’t going to make your body do those things, we asked now NYC-based (formerly DC) yoga teacher and all-around healthy person Lisa Markuson why people shouldn’t do yoga and why it’s not more popular.

5 Reasons Not To Do Yoga

  1. You saw a paparazzi pic of your fav celeb toting a Lululemon yoga mat
  2. You’re into fad diets
  3. You want a “yoga body”
  4. You want to impress people by contorting into a pretzel
  5. Someone told you to

5 Reasons Yoga Will Never Really Catch On

  1. You can’t sell it
  2. It is lonely
  3. It makes you oblivious to peer pressure
  4. It makes you impervious to advertising
  5. You can’t pull the skin off a snake

We didn’t want to end on a negative note so we also asked Lisa to dispel some myths.

5 Myths About Yoga

1. Yoga happens on a yoga mat

  • The yoga postures are only one of eight mental and physical practices of the yogic lifestyle.

2. Yoga is just for girls/gays/femmes

  • Traditionally only men were allowed to practice yoga.

3. Yoga is exercise

  • Yoga postures train the mind and body for meditation and for living a life of non-harm. The “workout” is a byproduct.

4. Yoga is a fad

  • Yoga is totally uncool and has been practiced for 6,000 years.

5. You need lots of special stretchy/rollie/sticky/fancy things to do yoga

  • You can be naked sitting in dirt and do yoga perfectly. The other stuff is really just for fun/laziness/bragging.

 

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